In a leading ruling, the US Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech and personal beliefs outweighs the absolute claim to non-discrimination, or what is considered to be.
The specific case was a web page designer, who, on the basis of her Christian faith, refused to design web pages for same-sex marriages. However, she was required by the state of Colorado, where she lives, under the non-discrimination law, to distort her own beliefs and design the website. The web page designer then appealed to the High Court, which proved her right.
The point made was that the web page designer never discriminated against anyone based on their beliefs or sexual preferences, but that she cannot be forced to say or write things that are against her own beliefs. The ruling did not apply the article on freedom of religion, but the first constitutional principle, namely the right to freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is not just what you say or write, but also covers the creative artists, which includes a web page designer. If someone is forced to design a web page that celebrates and praises same-sex marriage, it destroys your right to freedom of speech. If freedom of speech only includes what is popular at the moment, it is no longer freedom of speech. It would be a different matter if someone refused to serve a homosexual person on the basis of his sexual preference. However, this was not the question in question in this court case.
Race as an admissions factor
In another decisive ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that race may no longer be a determining factor for university admission, because it violates the constitutional principle of equal treatment.
This follows after students at the universities of Harvard and North Carolina complained against the practice that black Americans get admission to universities not only on the basis of qualifications, but on the basis of their skin colour. The Supreme Court says unequivocally that this amounts to discrimination on the basis of race and is contrary to the constitutional principle of equal protection.
You can’t fight racism with racism, according to one of the judges. Also, the argument that affirmative action is not about race, but about the protection of minorities, does not hold water. Affirmative action is not intended for minorities as such, but especially for black Americans and to a lesser extent also for people of Latin American origin. For the people of Asian origin in the USA this does not apply. In these two specific cases, it was precisely Americans of Asian descent who turned to the court.
Another argument for affirmative action is usually that greater diversity is beneficial for everyone through exposure to new ideas and insights. However, the argument of the judges was that there is no evidence that diversity per se is not beneficial for everyone, and moreover there is no criterion by which it can be determined when a university is diverse enough and the racial advantage would no longer be necessary.
The practice of favoring black Americans in college admissions due to the discrimination they have experienced in the past, in order to raise their percentage of the student body, has been practiced in the USA for more than 50 years. The practice has been challenged several times before the Supreme Court. The arguments for and against are always the same. What is different now, however, is that for the first time ever, the Supreme Court has a solid conservative majority of six to three justices, thanks to two nominations by President Trump.
Predictably, President Biden, the Democrats and the liberal media are seething with anger at the “activist Supreme Court overstepping its bounds and meddling in the politics of the day.” When the same court, albeit with a somewhat different composition, in the recent past threw open the doors to same-sex marriages, there was no objection from these quarters.
The challenge will now be to implement the new rules at universities with their left-leaning lecturers and administrative staff. Nevertheless, it is an important victory in a matter of principle and the echo will also reverberate outside America.